In the Beginning

In the beginning the whole world was gloomy

Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam (1966); Author (st. 7): Sietze Buning (1982)
Published in 2 hymnals

Audio files: MIDI

Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam

(no biographical information available about Hanna Lam.) Go to person page >

Author (st. 7): Sietze Buning

(no biographical information available about Sietze Buning.) Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: In the beginning the whole world was gloomy
Title: In the Beginning
Author (st. 7): Sietze Buning (1982)
Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam (1966)
Language: English
Copyright: Text and music © 1982 Paideia Press


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 1:1-5
st. 2 = Gen. 1:6-8
st. 3 = Gen. 1:9-13
st. 4 = Gen. 1:14-19
st. 5 = Gen. 1:20-25
st. 6 = Gen. 1:26-31
st. 7 = Gen. 2:1-3

Somewhat similar to Psalm 104, "In the Beginning" tells the creation story from Genesis 1 in verse form. The first six stanzas are devoted to the six days of creation. Stanza 7 focuses on the LORD's day of rest and turns this narrative song into a prayer for all of God's children. Stanzas 1-6 were originally written in Dutch by Hanna Lam and published in all four volumes of Alles wordt nieuw (1966-1978).

Johanna (Hanna) Lam (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1928; d. Bunnik, the Netherlands, 1988) collaborated with composer Wim ter Burg in the writing of these popular collections of songs based on biblical teachings and stories. Lam received a degree in social education from the University of Amsterdam and was committed to preparing worship songs for children, particularly in congregations where her husband served as pastor in the Hervormde Kerk; their last parish was in the community of Bunnik. The songs were initially intended for children, but they have been widely accepted and sung by adults as well.

Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25), using the pen name Sietze Buning, translated the first volume into English in 1982 with the title All Will Be New. That same year, he also provided a new stanza 7 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Creation-story focus; prayer services for crops and industry; harvest thanksgiving. The prayer in stanza 7 is appropriate for Labor Day and many other occasions in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Like many of the tunes by Dutch composer Willem (Wim) ter Burg (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1914; d. Maarn, 1995), IN BET BEGIN is childlike, easy to sing by adults and children alike. This is one of the tunes he composed for the original Dutch text by Hanna Lam that began with those words (hence,…

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